Tenders are now being called to engage a head contractor to manage the largest project underway as part of the Newell Highway Upgrade package.
The Australian and New South Wales governments are committing more than $257 million towards heavy-duty pavement upgrades along the highway to deliver safer, more reliable journeys between Narrabri and Moree.
Four priority sections, totalling a 26.85-kilometre stretch of the Newell Highway, will be upgraded.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Federal Government’s $205.7 million investment will ensure this stretch of road can meet the needs of motorists and freight vehicles, while providing opportunities for local and regional contractors.
“This is a major upgrade for the Newell Highway, which connects freight operators and other road users travelling inland between Queensland and Victoria and many regional communities,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“The project will reduce travel times, increase freight productivity and improve access along the Newell Highway, as well as to the future Moree Special Activation Precinct and Northern NSW Inland Port at Narrabri.”
New South Wales Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said work includes installing a heavy-duty surface suitable for heavy vehicles along the prioritised sections of the highway to boost freight efficiencies and improve connectivity for all road users.
“The Newell Highway is the freight backbone of the state, and this latest upgrade builds on our record investment, which also includes rolling out approximately 40 overtaking lanes and opening road train access along the entire length of the highway, to unlock big freight efficiency gains from border to border,” Mr Toole.
“Our focus is now on delivering the biggest project under the jointly funded Newell Highway Upgrade package, and today’s release of the tender for the main contract for this project, brings us a step closer to seeing shovels in the ground.”
Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the Federal Government was continuing to deliver better regional roads through the $4.9 billion Roads of Strategic Importance initiative.
“Nationwide, we are investing in projects like this to help connect regional businesses to local and international markets, and better link up regional communities – to help secure our economic recovery,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said.
“This project is about ensuring our key freight roads more efficiently connect agricultural and mining regions to ports, airports and other transport hubs. This will support regional jobs and industries.”
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the construction work will involve building the new sections of road, as well as five new overtaking lanes, intersection upgrades and multiple new bridge-sized culverts.
“This section of the Newell Highway is located within one of the most productive agricultural regions in Australia, so it’s critical that this road is up to scratch to ensure our farmers can more efficiently get their product to market,” Mr Coulton said.
“This is an exciting project for the Narrabri and Moree communities and will not only deliver more jobs locally and ensure motorists get home sooner and safer, but will help the region take advantage of the benefits of Inland Rail which is steaming ahead.”
Early enabling works started in June last year and included water main relocations at Bellata.
Work is planned to commence in early 2022 following the announcement of the successful head contractor for the main construction contract.
A mandatory pre-tender meeting for pre-qualified tenderers will be held on Tuesday, 12 October 2021.
The community will continue to be kept informed as the project progresses.